Document Type

Unpublished Paper

Publication Date



California State University Water Resources & Policy Initiatives


Santa Ana River Watershed, California, Proposition 1 Integrated Regional Water Management, Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program

The Santa Ana River (SAR) Watershed is the largest, most populated and fastest urbanizing watershed in Southern California, draining an estimated 2,700 square miles of diverse landscape and hydrological features. Headwater streams of the SAR Watershed are located in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the San Jacinto Mountains. These streams traverse the coastal sage habitat through numerous water infrastructure features in the Inland Empire before terminating into the Pacific Ocean at the City of Huntington Beach. Groundwater resources, seasonal rains, and snowmelt provide a small fraction of the water resources needed to sustain the estimated 5.9 million residents living in the watershed. To augment limited local water supply, the SAR Watershed imports water into the region from Northern California and the Colorado River. With recent drought conditions and a growing population, community stakeholders and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), a leading regional water agency, are exploring innovative ways to manage water resources that support both human and ecological activities.


Jennifer B. Alford, PhD, lead author/editor, with research support and contributions from:

California State University San Bernardino, Native Listening Session Team; California State University Fullerton; California Rural Water Association; Local Government Commission, Riverside; Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA); .University of California, Irvine